The Things We Leave Behind When We Travel.

By Posted in - Travel Resources on May 19th, 2015

Everyone writes about the things they take on the road. We all do it—bloggers, magazine editors, celebrity chefs. Why? People like the information; I like the information too. You see, travelers are an interesting species. Some religiously check luggage, others don’t even carry a bag. Whatever their style, though, everybody has a reason for traveling the way they do. I guess I find it fascinating, and judging from the popularity of our posts about packing tips, others do too.

But what about the stuff we leave behind? Everyone’s got something or someone they leave behind when the road calls, don’t they? Even if it is just a pet rock named Stoney. Travelers don’t talk as much about those things, but I think they’re just as important, and the information gleaned as important as traditional packing lists. So, we came up with the five things we often have to leave behind when we travel—be it for a weeklong Caribbean cruise or an extended trip through Europe—and how, if possible, we deal with those things from the road.


It Was Me Amsterdam, Not You (+3 Awesome Recommendations) #mustlovefestivals:

After our first trip to Amsterdam in 2011, Beth came up with our travel motto: Expect nothing. Enjoy everything. Expectations are a funny thing, especially when working in tandem with your mind and all the “travel porn”—ahem, I mean, beautiful photos of a destination—that it takes in on a daily basis. Expectations can be downright dangerous, tricking you into believing that the Emerald City is actually green or that OZ is really run by a wizard. Get my drift? Anyways, so when we finally got to Amsterdam, we were so hyped from everything we had heard and seen that we created a romanticized version of Amsterdam that no city could contend with. (On a side note, we revisited Amsterdam last summer for the Pitch Festival, and finally got it.) On the other hand, we had no expectations about Paris—I think because we knew there was no way it could live up to hype given it—and we fell in love with the city, extending our stay nearly a week. Having expectations could make your trip a disappointment, so remember, when it comes to travel: Expect nothing. Enjoy everything.



Without a doubt, the hardest thing we have to leave behind is our 10-pound hound Chachy. I know everyone says it about their own pets, but he really is the cutest little mutt. We do our best to bring him with us whenever we can, but it’s often not possible, at least not yet. Luckily, we can leave him with Beth’s sister, Bridgette, who he adores. It’s still hard though. He knows our routine, and he can tell when there is change, like Beth starts trying on clothes or suitcases start coming out. His mood changes and he gets really hurt; he’ll often steal a pair of Beth’s yoga pants to sit with and then just stare at us with his sad brown eyes. As I said though, we’re fortunate that we have family around to leave him with. Growing up, we used to leave our dogs at kennels, and while it always worked out well, I couldn’t imagine leaving him there; he’s just too sensitive. For some dogs, it’s a playground. But for him, it would be like prison, and he’s just not hard enough for the pen, even if it is more pet country club than kennel.  If we didn’t have family nearby, then we’d likely look into a pet sitter. The good news is that more and more hotels are welcoming pets to stay with them. Actually, we wrote a story earlier this year about the Best Pet Friendly Hotels in the United States, and I’ve heard that pet travel is always gaining momentum in Europe too. Who knows, maybe next year is the year Chachy goes international.



Not every trip we take is outside the United States, but, at least for me anyways, when I think of travel, foreign locales always come to mind. I love discovering new countries and reconnecting with old favorites, like Italy and Mexico. To me, it’s fascinating to see how other people live and interact with one another on a daily basis. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get a little smile on my face every time we return home. Travel has given me the opportunity to experience the world in ways I couldn’t have imagined growing up. And from my explorations a ripple effect has occurred, helping me see my own country in a new light.


A view of Portofino, Italy from a hill overlooking the town.

Beth and I are both close with our families, so whenever we’re out longer than, say, a week, we really start to miss them. The cool thing about traveling these days is that you are never far from the ones you love. When we were in the middle of the Caribbean Sea, for example, we were able to stay in touch with our families, because cruise ships these days are being outfitted with stronger performing WiFi capabilities. On our Carnival cruise, it switched automatically between shore-based antennas and satellite data to provide a faster, more reliable WiFi experience. Once online, Facebook, Google Hangouts, Apple FaceTime, all make it easy to stay connected with your family while on the road. But our favorite is still Skype, mainly because all of our parents are on it, including my 82-year-old grandfather, which makes it easy to connect with everyone via video chat. Plus, it also gives us the ability to make calls to landlines back home, which comes in handy to tell my grandfather to logon to his computer. One of my favorite voice chats ever had happened in Florence, Italy. We had a MiFi with unlimited data, so we connected with Beth’s parents on Skype via our smartphone and gave them a tour around the city. They loved it!

Bonus tip: If you subscribe to Microsoft Office 365, then you get 60 minutes of free Skype calls a month.



Stuff vs. This View? The view wins every time!

I don’t have a lot of stuff, but I have enough. So much so, when I think about it all, it dilutes into melodic hum on repeat: Sweaters, Beer mugs, Wii U, Sewing Machines…Sweaters, Beer…you get the point, right? Traveling is a great way to help put things in perspective when it comes to stuff. If everything I need I can fit into a carry-on bag, and I’m still happy, then I really don’t need all these things at home. Pairing down your life is liberating. We did it when we were preparing for our first big trip five years ago, and we’ve done a pretty good job of keeping our wants at bay. But there is nothing like being out on the road to help you realize that stuff is just that, stuff to occupy your mind in this silly world of ours.

So that’s what we leave behind when we travel, how about you? Share your list in the comments below!


This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind. Head on over. As always, our thoughts and opinions are entirely our own.


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(11) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • Rebekah -

    May 19, 2015 at 8:54 am

    This is so true and so sad. I hate leaving family behind. I just got home after 15 months away and I can not believe how much STUFF I have. I’m pretty minimalistic too so its crazy to me. I think leaving expectations behind is smart too. I actually try to stay away from travel porn because it often ends up disappointing me when I arrive at a place and its not actually glowing and magical, just pretty and interesting…. the internet does strange things to us I guess

  • Gina -

    May 19, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    For me it’s my fur babies! Just the some as you, mine know when I’m getting ready to go away… I get THE LOOK. But I leave them with my Mum, who’s a great baby sitter. And just cross fingers they behave while I’m away!

  • Justine -

    May 20, 2015 at 12:42 am

    Lately I’ve really made an effort to leave my expectations behind. In the past, some of the destinations I’ve been dying to go to and read about obsessively have been the ones that have let me down the most. Now, I try to keep my expectations at a minimum. You just never know if a new location is going to click with you. And the reason you love it might be the reason other people hate it. It best to always go in with an open mind.

  • De’Jav -

    May 27, 2015 at 11:56 pm

    Leaving family and pets behind can be a challenge. It makes it easier with technology although it’s not the same.

  • Claudia -

    May 30, 2015 at 12:57 am

    Lovely post. I travel a lot, and whenever I do it breaks my heart to leave my cats. I actually live with my family, so my cats stay home, they don’t move at all. Still, they sense the change, and they don’t like it. And I miss them so much when I am away!

  • Frank -

    June 1, 2015 at 11:41 am

    All the stuff I’ve left behind fits in a small box in the closet of my old room. The intangible things you mentioned hit home with me though!

  • Kathryn -

    June 1, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    Pets are the hardest to leave behind. You can’t just explain to them that you will be coming back. I live in Australia and the strict quarantine laws coming back into the country make pet travel pretty difficult (three months in quarantine would be worse than the kennel!)

  • Izy Berry – The Wrong Way Home -

    June 4, 2015 at 5:27 am

    Always, the hardest part is leaving the family, friends and pets. Traveling itself is great experience and it’s always better to do it with your close relatives or friends or even with your cat or dog.

  • Marshall -

    July 14, 2015 at 10:12 am

    I agree with Beth’s advice that when traveling we should expect nothing and enjoy everything. Travel light and live minimally with less stuff is great advice too. What I would add is to picture the things you remember most fondly from past travels, then list and watch for those kinds of destinations in the future. If you hold fond memories of spending time in a charming country cottage on a richly landscaped little town of narrow streets overlooking a sunny bay dotted with sail boats, then describe this on your list of favorite destinations to watch for. You can probably think of many lovely, romantic, quaint, charming or exciting places you have seen or enjoyed during your travels. List the sort of places that you’d like to enjoy again. Then start enjoying them more frequently.

  • Carol -

    July 18, 2015 at 3:48 am

    Just found this page after seeing the dog – looks like mine. Loved reading your story. So true. After my husband passed away 4 years ago I realized how much ‘stuff’ we had that meant pretty much nothing. A few items I kept , but the rest I donated so someone else could enjoy. It’s the memories and pics that keep me going. And the travels!!

  • Debbie -

    July 20, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    So very true! Leaving family behind is always hard.. as well as our Beagle, Bailey. We always feel so crappy leaving her behind!